If you’re expecting the “typical” meditation teacher — someone who smells of patchouli, eats homemade granola, and speaks in Yoda-like adages — then you’d pass right over Emily Fletcher.
Emily certainly exudes more allure and charisma than your average modest monk.
I meet her at dusk after she’s settled in for the day in her city apartment. She’s wearing one of those loose, sleeveless shirts that are standard attire for the local coffeehouse after noontime yoga. It reads in bold white letters, “Love All, Trust Few, Do Harm To None” — a Shakespeare reference that verifies her as a true thespian.
But the surprise isn’t that she spent 10 years of her life as a successful (but very stressed) Broadway actress, with roles in classics like Chicago, The Producers, and A Chorus Line.
The surprise is that she’s startlingly approachable.
Her Tallahassee warmth and charm (she was born in sunny Florida), mixed with the magnetism of a New York City showgirl, instantly makes you want to know her better.
Thankfully, the author of The M Word and founder of Ziva Meditation is open enough to share her very earliest beginnings with me.
“Well, my mom likes to joke that I was born on stage because she was in a teaching hospital for her delivery, so there was a whole class of nurses watching my birth.”
“No,” I laugh, imagining a bunch of blue scrubs and white coats watching her birth like you’d view a performance. “Are you serious?”
She has to tame her own laughter in order to respond.
Eventually, she answers, “Yep, that was the joke,” but of course the reality is that Emily has always been drawn to the stage. Since the age of eight, huddled over an open newspaper on the floor of her mother’s bathroom, she saw an advertisement for a young actor’s guild in Tallahassee and instantly determined she needed acting lessons.
But the dream wasn’t what she expected.
Although she had achieved an incredible feat — earning a role on Broadway on her second day in New York — she still had to reconcile her dreams with reality.
“I thought that once I got to Broadway, it would be like martinis with Liza at Sardi’s, and instead it was us girls eating tuna fish out of the can in the dressing room and complaining about our bunions.”
At only 27, she had burnout: she had insomnia, she was going gray, she was getting sick and injured constantly.
She was experiencing a quarter-life crisis.
She realized, like many of us do nowadays, that achieving her goals had not made her happy.
But there was this one lady…
Who was beautiful, successful, always composed. Everything seemed to be going right in her life. One stressed-out night on Broadway, Emily decided to ask her, “What is it that you do? What is it that you do that makes you so good at life?”
The woman answered, “Easy, darling. I meditate. You ought to try it, too.”
Sure enough, after Emily made her way over to a meditation class, she had some pretty spectacular results. “It cured my insomnia on the first day. I stopped getting sick and I stopped going gray.”
But she points out, “It still took a couple of years, every day, twice a day, of flooding my brain and body with bliss chemicals until just slowly but surely the flavors of my desires changed.” Her desires and to-do lists stopped being a way to fill some void in her day and herself.
“Now that I have meditation, I feel like I get into the source, use my to-do list, use my day as a means to deliver fulfillment.”
From Vodka To Veda
She ended up leaving Broadway for India, to begin her three-year training as a meditation teacher.
Then she was back in the West, in Beverly Hills, “slinging vodka at two in the morning” to pay for meditation teacher training and forcing herself “up at dawn to meditate for six hours.”
“I thought I must be the only person on the planet whose whole life was going from vodka to Veda, from vodka to Veda every day,” she confesses to me.
She tried to publish a book about her experiences but her first book deal ended up being for a different one, The M Word. Hopefully, From Vodka to Veda will be next.
Her program on the Mindvalley Quest platform, The M Word, covers what she’s learned from teaching thousands of people at Ziva Meditation over the past five years meditation for high performance — whether to prepare for an Oscar win, become better parents, or negotiate a giant NBA contract.
She explains to me that “most high performers meditate because they want to be better at their jobs and their lives, and they want to accomplish their goals more quickly.”
That’s what makes her meditation style so unique: she brings scientific evidence to spiritual practices, modifies old traditions for the new age, and transforms the esoteric into the approachable.
But the real reason she became a modern meditation expert?
She loves to not only help people achieve the best performance of their lives but also help everyone “tap into source every day.”
“How much less would we be consuming? How much kinder would we be to each other? How much of this ‘us-and-them’ business would go away? How much more respectful would we be to the oceans, how differently would we treat animals?” she wonders. Emily Fletcher Ziva Meditation is out to change the world in the purest and most natural way possible.
Through her teachings, she’s able to help people tap into that higher purpose…
Because Emily Fletcher doesn’t want you to just become better at meditation; Emily Fletcher wants you to become better at meditation so that you can get better at life — and, most importantly, contribute to a better world.
You can learn more about Emily and her Quest program by watching the free masterclass, Meditation for Super Performance, where Vishen Lakhiani interviews Emily on the best meditation practices. It’s funny, adorable and you won’t just learn a thing or two — the course will knock your socks off.